Brittney Griner’s Lawyers Argue for Leniency in Russian Court

Wearing a black and grey sweatshirt with the slogan “Black lives for peace” printed on the again, Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who has been detained in Russia on drug prices, appeared in a courtroom close to Moscow on Tuesday as her protection staff continued to current proof that she had not supposed to interrupt the regulation.

She was escorted to a courtroom by a gaggle of cops, one in all them carrying a balaklava, and stood in a metallic cage, holding images of her relations, teammates and buddies, based on video footage from the scene revealed by Russian state tv.

After being detained in a Moscow airport one week earlier than Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Ms. Griner has develop into an unlikely pawn in a diplomatic recreation between Moscow and Washington. With her responsible plea making the decision appear a foregone conclusion, consultants stated that her finest hope was that the Biden administration might discover a method to swap her for a high-profile Russian being held by the United States.

During courtroom hearings, her protection staff argued for leniency, saying that Ms. Griner had not supposed to smuggle narcotics into Russia and that, like many different worldwide athletes, she had used hashish to assist ease ache from accidents.

A narcology skilled testified in courtroom on Tuesday, Ms. Griner’s attorneys stated, to current a case that in some international locations, together with the United States, medical hashish “is a well-liked remedy, particularly amongst athletes.”

“With the prescription in place, Brittney could have used it for medical, however not for leisure functions,” stated Maria Blagovolina, one in all Ms. Griner’s attorneys and a accomplice at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin & Partners, a agency in Moscow.

At the earlier listening to, the attorneys offered a notice from Ms. Griner’s physician recommends hashish to deal with her ache. Mrs. Griner was additionally anticipated to look in courtroom on Wednesday, when she could possibly be known as to testify.

Mrs. Griner had traveled to Russia as a result of she performed for a staff in the nation to earn extra cash through the low season. Russian customs officers found two vape cartridges with cannabis oil — a hashish spinoff — in her baggage.

Mrs. Griner was taken into custody close to Moscow and accused of willfully smuggling the vape cartridges, a cost that may carry a sentence of as much as 10 years in jail.

On July 7, Ms. Griner pleaded responsible to the costs, saying that she had unintentionally carried a banned substance into Russia as a result of she had packed it in a rush. The Russian authorities have signaled that no attainable trade can happen earlier than a verdict in courtroom.

American officers have stated that they’re doing all they will to return Ms. Griner house, arguing that she was wrongfully detained. Last week, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, stated that such statements had been “political, biased, and illegitimate.”

“If an American citizen was detained on drug trafficking prices and he or she doesn’t deny it herself, then this could correspond to Russian laws, and to not the legal guidelines adopted in San Francisco,” Ms. Zakharova stated.

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